On Labor Day, after finishing my summer run of shows, and before one quarter of my tomatoes had turned red, I had to pack up, leave Provincetown and head back to New York. Next summer I either have to plant earlier or find an early ripening tomato. Or not leave.
I loved watching the progress of my tomatoes during our very short New England growing season. I tell my girlfriend I am going off the grid, going to live off the land. She says it will take more than two tomato plants. I’ll keep chickens and pigs. The pigs don’t have to wear lipstick. Maybe a little Covergirl Porcine Glow blusher. Ellen Degeneres is the new face of Covergirl! A real lipstick lesbian! Progress!
Within a few days I was back in the swing of New York City, catching up with friends, seeing movies I’d missed [Burn After Reading – great cast, don’t bother], and ordering Indian takeout. The weather in New York that week after Labor Day was glorious and I was not a happy cabined, cribbed, confined camper. I tried to be gracious, but based on my unconvincing performance, my girlfriend agrees that next fall I should extend in Ptown.
That week I felt like a war correspondent keeping up on dispatches about the Palin bombshell and monitoring the progress of Ike as I got ready to go to Austin, Texas, for the Out and Equal Workplace Summit. The annual gathering of LGBT corporate, dare I say it, “community organizers” is getting larger and they are doing amazing work to transform workplaces into safe and thus creative environments for LGBT employees.
The sad irony of the weekend gathering of workplace optimists is that in the next week, their newly diversified workplaces at AIG, Lehman, Hewlett-Packard and Fannie Mae, to name a few, were to be bankrupted, shuttered and sold off, big enough to fail and bail. The riotous spirit of the dinner I emceed had a fin de siecle hysteria about it.
New York City, the former financial capital of the world, has lost 20,000 jobs. Each time I ride the elevator in my building during the day, I see more and more unfamiliar faces. There are young fathers on an errand or young moms with their own small kids in the middle of the day. Every day is casual day.
It was good to leave New York and do a series of shows at the new RAZZ Room at the newly remodeled Nikko Hotel in San Francisco. The city has been through its share of booms and busts from the gold rush days, to the war years, to the closing of three military bases and loss of jobs, to the dot com bubble and bust. They go on. The city is bustling with life-saving tourists. The US is not a melting pot anymore. We are an outlet mall.
The crowds at my show have the exhausted feel of warriors fighting on two fronts. Not only are they fighting for the election of Barack Obama, but they are also fighting the insulting nuisance of ballot initiative #8, which will take away the right of gay people to marry. They are organizing, phone-banking, going door to door, volunteering, raising unseemly amounts of money to fight the right.
A couple of people from my San Fransister’s audience told me after my show that I had gone too easy on Sarah Palin. After all the justifiable complaining I did about the sexism in Hillary Clinton’s primary bid, it’s true, I’m having a hard time being hard on Sarah Palin. She is so beside the point. The venal cynicism of McCain’s choice of the inexperienced Palin is on a par with the boldfaced vetting of Clarence Uncle Thomas as supremely qualified for the high court.
We haven’t got time for Sarah “Operation Distraction” Palin. John McCain, or as we call him in our house, God Forbid, answered a question about Spain with all the loopiness of Miss Teen South Carolina when asked why one-fifth of Americans could not locate the U.S. on a map. Such as.
We don’t have time for chain emails about white privilege, or goodbye to all that part three or Palin as Obama’s psychic shadow or crying about polar bear vaginas. We can think all those big thoughts later, when we’re sobering up from the Democratic victory parties. Right now, it’s time to volunteer, send money, fight with undecided voters, vote and win.